The racist legacy of outgoing US President Donald Trump

The racist, Islamophobic and sexist legacy of outgoing US president Donald Trump: Good riddance!
4 min read
19 January, 2021
It is Donald Trump's last official day as President of the United States, and his departure is a good time to look back on his problematic legacy.
Trump has a history of problematic statements [Getty]



In less than 24 hours, departing US President Donald Trump will step down from his position and give the mantle to Democrat President-elect Joe Biden.

A presidency filled with polarisation and conflict, to say that Trump is a problematic figure in US politics would be understating the legacy of hatred he left behind.

Trump often found himself at loggerheads with the US press and the world at large over derogatory and otherwise offensive comments he made about Muslims, black people in America, refugees, women and the LGBTQ community.

The Republican president has had his social media privileges revoked. Twitter and Facebook have permanently suspended his accounts due to misleading and inaccurate statements he made about the elections, later compounded by his alleged attempt to incite a "coup" by inciting his supporters to storm the US Capitol.

Trump’s words have certainly had an inspirational effect on extremists around the world. In 2019, 49 people were killed in a terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand – the country’s worst mass killing since 1943.

The man charged with the crime, Brenton Tarrant, had cited Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” (he rejected Trump as a policymaker and leader, however).

As his legacy comes to an end, The New Arab will take you through some of the highlights – or rather, lowlights – in Trump’s history of discriminatory statements.

A history of Islamophobia

Donald Trump has repeatedly exhibited a bias against Muslims.

In November 2015, when he was campaigning for the presidency, Trump said that America needs to "watch and study the mosques" on the Morning Joe TV show, a few days later adding that he would "certainly implement" a database to track Muslims in the United States.

He followed that with a false claim that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed after being hit by two hijacked planes on September 11, 2001.

One month later Trump, in what was to remain a stain on his presidency, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

He went on to tweet that the United Kingdom is "trying to disguise their massive Muslim problem".

In early 2016 he claimed that "Islam hates us" and a year later he retweeted three videos by Jayda Fransen, a Britain First leader who had been convicted of hate crime offences including "mosque invasions" and the setting up of "Christian patrols".

Following the three suicide bombings in Brussels in March 2016 he told Fox Business: "We’re having problems with the Muslims and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the United States".

He later called for the surveillance of mosques in the US.

"You have to deal with the mosques, whether we like it or not, I mean, you know, these attacks aren’t coming out of – they’re not being done by Swedish people."

In January 2020 Trump retweeted a doctored image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a hijab and Senator Chuck Schumer wearing a turban and standing in front of an Iranian flag with a caption saying: "The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue".

Racism and intolerance

Trump has repeatedly claimed he’s "the least racist person" and has sneered at attempts to frame him as sexist despite the infamous "grab them by the p****y" tape and subsequent comments about women.

His sexist history includes rating Apprentice contestants’ looks in 2016, and in 2017 praising the "good shape" of the French First Lady.

In a tweet, he referred to his former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman as a "crazed, crying lowlife" and a "dog" after she alleged that she had proof he had previously used the N-word.

In 2018 he mocked sexual assault victims, and since then he has made countless snide comments pertaining to womens’ looks, and played on stereotypes of women belonging in the kitchen.

The outgoing US president launched his presidential campaign in 2015 by calling Mexican immigrants "rapists who are "bringing crime" and "bringing drugs" to the US.

He has retweeted white supremacists and far-right figures and during his presidential campaign, and in 2016, addressing black voters, he said:
"You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?"

In 2017 he reportedly said people who came to the US from Haiti "all have Aids" and that people who came to the US from Nigeria would never "go back to their huts" once they saw America.

The White House denied that Trump ever made these comments.

He has repeatedly disparaged Black Lives Matter and posited white, far-right racist protests Charlottesville, Virginia as being on the same moral line as those who stand against racism.

His racist comments aren’t limited to Mexicans, Muslims and black people either. In 2020 he called Covid-19 the "Chinese virus" and "kung flu".

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